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Leo letter lifts ‘hero’ Gemma

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Gemma Doyle (11) from Ballygalvert with her letter from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Gemma Doyle (11) from Ballygalvert with her letter from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Gemma Doyle (11) from Ballygalvert with her letter from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

For 11-year-old Ballywilliam girl Gemma Doyle, the Covid-19 restrictions mean she can't visit with her grandparents in New Ross, so she wrote to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar asking when this can be possible.

The Rathgarogue NS pupil from Ballygalvert is missing Maurice and Joanie, who she normally visits every second day at their home in Dowsley's Barn. Ever since Friday, March 13, the visits are less frequent and mean she has to stay in her mother Susie's car and wave and chat with them from afar.

On Wednesday Gemma was thrilled to receive a letter from Mr Varadkar in which he called her a hero and thanked her for writing to him, saying it was very nice of her.

In her letter she referred to a fall Maurice had and how she wished she could give him a hug.

Mr Varadkar empathised with Gemma, saying he knows that she, like many children across Ireland, are missing their friends and grandparents at this difficult time.

He said it was very important that all children need to help take care of their families by staying apart from cocooning grandparents.

Mr Varadkar also asked Gemma to pass on his best wishes to Maurice and Joanie and for her to say hello from him to her sister Katelyn and brother Cillian.

Gemma's mother Susie said: 'She was delighted. Gemma is very, very close to her grandparents. Her Grandad fell and she couldn't give him a hug or get close to him. Then she sent the letter off and I told her not to expect anything, not to give her false hope.'

When Gemma collected the post on Wednesday she got a huge surprise. 'She screamed and as she read it the first thing that stood out was her Grandad's name and the fact he put her brother and sister's names in it. She has a new found appreciation for the Taoiseach, that's for sure.'

The letter will be framed and put on the wall at the Doyle household as soon as Bailey's Picture Gallery & Craft Shop reopens in New Ross, Susie added.

New Ross Standard